Aquafit Ideas for Upper Body

Wednesday, December 27 2023

Upper FIIT with Katy Coffey is designed to provide aquatic fitness instructors with exercises that target everything from the hips and above. Aside from exercises for traditional upper body muscle groups, there is also a dedicated core-focused segment and a metabolic conditioning circuit. If your facility does not have the Aqualogix drag resistance bells, you can just modify using the principles of levers and hand positions for an effective drag resistance workout.  



Aquatic Fitness Class-at-a-Glance
This 25-minute aquatic fitness instructor video includes a short warm-up and cool down and four 5-minute fitness segments that include core training, cardio strength, an upper body circuit and metabolic conditioning. The equipment used includes two different sized sets of Aqualogix Resistance Drag Equipment and a pool noodle. If you don’t have the Aqualogix bells, just modify by cueing appropriate arm and hand positions. Below, Katy talks about upper body training in the aquatic environment and then shares more insights behind the creation of the Upper FIIT workout.



Upper FIIT Inspiration
By Katy Coffey
In the ever-evolving landscape of fitness classes, gyms are now introducing specialized strength training sessions to diversify workout routines. Enter Upper FIIT, a 25-minute water workout meticulously designed to target and tone everything from the hips upward. This dedicated upper body session not only provides a quick and effective standalone workout but also seamlessly pairs with its counterpart, Lower FIIT, for a comprehensive 50-minute total body conditioning experience. (Lower FIIT will post in February 2024)

The Power of Specialized Strength Training
Gone are the days of generic workouts. Gyms now offer a structured schedule that caters to specific muscle groups each day. Upper FIIT takes center stage on day one, ensuring participants can focus on strengthening and sculpting their upper bodies without the fatigue of a total body workout every day.

Drop Sets for Maximum Impact
Experience the power of drop sets in Upper FIIT.  This is a strength training technique that involves starting with a higher resistance and then repeating reps with lighter weights until fatigue sets in. Discover the impact of using two resistances of drag bells and explore how a simple change in lever or movement can intensify exercises.  

Adapting to Your Pool's Resources
For those without access to specialized equipment, fear not. Stick to the basic principles of aquatic fitness, focusing on lever (arm) length and hand positions for maximal drag resistance. If you don’t have Aqualogix bells, feel free to explore the difference between using webbed gloves and going glove-free.  It is important to learn how to adapt the workout to various pool settings and available equipment.

Core and Plank Mastery
The versatility of noodles as a tool for replicating mat exercises in the water can bring endless opportunity for core and plank work. Incorporating these exercises into your pool workout will help you build strength for everyday activities. Challenge yourself to maintain proper plank form, laying the foundation for future grounded plank exercises. Not all noodles are created equally. Ideally a solid core noodle with appropriate density will be best for adapting mat work into the pool. Watch the video below where Mark explains how to coach your students into planking success.



Upper FIIT isn't just a workout; it's a tailored experience aimed at sculpting and strengthening your upper body with precision. Whether you're opting for a quick upper body workout or pairing it with Lower FIIT for a total body transformation, this aquatic workout promises to bring innovation and effectiveness to your fitness routine. Embrace the power of specialized strength training, adapt to your pool's resources, and dive into a refreshing and challenging upper body workout that will leave you invigorated and stronger than ever.


Fitmotivation extends a big thank you to Katy for providing subscribers with ideas for adding upper body training into their classes.  Stay tuned, Lower FIIT will be posting in February. Instructors will be able to combine both Upper & Lower FIIT for a complete 50-minute total body conditioning aquatic fitness class.


Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.